# 1/3 Scale Ford 289 Hi-Po

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Perhaps a better way to think of it as something like "voltage times RPM sort of equals heat", as heat is probably the killer here. Higher RPM means more pulses/second so you have a higher duty cycle for the switching transistor(%ON time vs. %OFF time). All solid state electronic devices have an internal resistance that will generate waste heat when power is applied. During the ON time of that duty cycle, the device is going to be generating heat. The device can only bleed that heat off at a certain rate, which will happen mostly during the OFF part of the duty cycle. That's why you'll find heat sinks on computers and most electronics, it helps bleed the heat off faster. But there are still limits to the device's internal temperature, and how fast you can get rid of that heat. The weak link is usually the connection from the device to the outside world.

Hitting a capacitor with a higher voltage allows it to charge faster, which is great for a CDI system. But that higher voltage also means more waste heat that needs to be bled off, volts x amps = watts. Roy said "I would not try 7.4 volts because the switching transistor in the DC-DC circuit would not handle the current long term." It's just a guess, but eventually you probably get enough heat built up in that transistor that it cooks itself.

Don

Terry and Don, you are both correct. Heat is the enemy in the DC-DC converter but not a problem in the HV section. As you increase the input voltage you also increase the high voltage to the Capacitor, SCR, and Coil. The most vulnerable component here is the SCR. I have toasted many of them in my early design work. We use a 500 volt SCR in the system but even 1 volt over that limit and its history. The main reason I went to the 500 Volt SCR was per chance someone did inadvertently apply 7.4 volts.

At a fixed RPM if you increase the input voltage, say from 4.5 to 5 the current draw will go up. At a fixed input voltage if you increase the engine speed (RPM's) you also increase the current draw. Increasing both of those at the same time will increase the current draw even more and as Terry mentioned, it is not linear in nature. If memory serves me correctly the CDI with 6 volts input and Maximum RPM or Sparks per Second the current draw is approaching 500ma or 1/2 amp.

Roy

The voltage limit for the SCR also makes sense. Solid state devices are grown/built in layers, the layers are normally separated by a non-conductive layer. As it's the easiest to grow, this is usually silicon dioxide for silicon devices. The thickness of the layers is precisely controlled, and the layer thickness of the insulating determines the maximum voltage rating. Exceeding the maximum voltage rating will allow current to arc through the insulating layer, and things will go boom. (Mostly on a really small scale, but bigger devices=bigger boom.)

I seem to fight a losing battle in every build while trying to scale the ignition components. I invariably end up with an oversized and tightly packed module that will be difficult to later maintain. Even at its whopping one-third scale, the 289's ignition was no exception.

The module's final packaging is shown in one of the photos but looks worse than it really is. The placement of the CDI module was designed so it can be maneuvered past the panel mounted components after unsoldering five wires and removing three fasteners. The trigger board can slide out for repair without unsoldering its connecting wires. I once had one of these boards fail (a tantalum capacitor blew up) when its module was inadvertently reverse powered. A protection diode added in series with the module's power connector protects this board from similar carelessness. A machined bottom cover completed the enclosure.

The small trigger board was designed in SolidWorks and fabricated on the Tormach. I guess if I thought long and hard enough I could come up with a more inefficient way to make a pcb. Resist ink and ferric chloride would probably have reduced the fabrication time by an order of magnitude, but fortunately (or unfortunately) my time's no longer money.

The ignition module requires 5.5 volts (6.3 volts including the series diode), but the engine's electric starter will require a 12 volt battery. Cheap and efficient step down regulators are readily available even from Amazon, but including one inside the ignition module would have made it even bigger. Instead, the next side project will be the packaging of one of these regulators inside its own enclosure - a scaled-down 60's era Autolite voltage regulator. - Terry

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Project ............ PERFECT IN EVERY DETAIL .
!

Terry:

Component size and placement in panel design is the bug-a-boo of every Controls Engineer that works on industrial systems. Only we usually have to add in things like minimum recommended spacings, heat dissipation, minimum clear panel space allowances for future expansion... The stuff that will allow the panels to run 24/7 for years on end. Control panels for model engines have different constraints, with the most important usually being minimum size. Since model engines don't often run for extended periods of time heat build up isn't much of a problem. We tend to try to cram 10 pounds into a 5 pound sack. Ease of repair is WAY down on the list.

As usual, you sir, have done a most excellent job of cramming 15 pounds into a 5 pound sack. And you EVEN thought about how to make it easier to repair in the future. My hat's off to you sir.

Don

Ford produced several iterations of their 60's era voltage regulators, but all of them looked similar to the one in the first photo. The older Autolites were relay-type regulators with bendable adjustment tabs while the newer Motorcraft units were fully electronic and non-adjustable. All had distinctive parallelogram mounting bases and were found on the passenger-side fender well inside the engine compartment. The electrics were mounted in the base plate and protected by a riveted painted cover. A four pin connector on the bottom of the regulator carried the connections to the alternator.

The step-down regulator board that I used (available from Amazon) was mounted to the model's baseplate along with a pair of male Futaba connectors. The cover was machined from a block of aluminum and secured to the baseplate with 2-56 screws. The cover was Gun Kote'd blue, and the engraved print was filled with yellow paint similar to look like an old Autolite.

While connected to a 12 volt battery and before attaching the cover, the regulator's output was preset to 6.1 volts using an onboard adjustment making 5.4 volts available to the CDI. The entire ignition system was then tested from the 12 volt battery through the regulator and ignition module to the distributor using makeshift cables.

I'd planned to start work by now on the monotonous piston rings, but I've been having fun with these packaging projects and thought I'd do a few more. I'll need a starter relay, and so next I'll try my hand at a 60's Ford starter solenoid. - Terry

A voltage regulator for a model engine, disguised as a voltage regulator... I love it. I'm assuming that the regulator is to scale?

A voltage regulator for a model engine, disguised as a voltage regulator... I love it. I'm assuming that the regulator is to scale?
I don't have one on hand to compare, but I think mine's a little big. - Terry

OK, so it's Stand Way Off scale instead of Museum scale. Big deal, it still looks great - and it makes the CDI happy. So win-win.

Short rant ...
From the early 80's through the mid 2000's the only cars we owned were 60's era muscle cars that evolved through continuous restorations. All were Fords except for my wife's Monte Carlo 454 SS which was the only GM car we ever owned. I developed a love/hate relationship with that car because of its starter. Over time, heat from its aftermarket headers would cook the solenoids which were located on the starters up against the exhaust. This created no end of reliability problems. A spare starter/solenoid was stored in the trunk since the failures usually occurred at a most inopportune time in some parking lot. Ford solenoids on the other hand were remotely located high up on fender wells away from the exhaust heat. I don't remember ever replacing a failed Ford solenoid.

Back on topic ...
Preliminary tests on the model engine's starter motor showed it might draw upwards of 25 amps. Without a solenoid, the size and nature of the starter load would stress a simple switch. Scaling a Ford solenoid looked like an interesting machining project, but I wasn't happy with my design of its high current contactor which used cannibalized relay parts. The solenoid was eventually redesigned around a standard 40 amp automotive relay. This will simplify maintenance, but the solenoid ended up closer to half-scale than third-scale.

The distinctively shaped solenoid body was machined from a chunk of black acetal copolymer (an eBayer's idea of Delrin) to have the look and feel of the original. The overly complicated pocket to hold the relay was designed to minimize the solenoid's size without weakening its cylindrical structure. The mounting bracket was machined from bendable aluminum and permanently attached to the top of the solenoid. The relay's blade contacts were shortened slightly and soldered to lugs on the threaded contacts. The bottom cover which is attached to the solenoid by four screws finished up a really fun project. - Terry

Love it! Don't worry overly about scale. Let the rivet-counters get stressed instead! Just enjoy it!
K2

Also love it! Very nice.
Many moons ago I had the same problem with a 68 big block Corvette. It was a well known hot start issue. Another solenoid to give the SW side of the starter solenoid a bit of extra umph and cure the problem for me.

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incredible details. truly art.

70 Chevelle SS396 4 speed. Hot start problems also. Always parked where we could push the car and pop the clutch to start it. Awh … the good old days

You should probably make a scale pair of pliers for when you have use them to jump across the solenoid. As well as a stick or screwdriver to hold the choke open. Aw yes, the good old days, except it was usually 20 below (Fahrenheit) when we had to use these methods.

Awesome build and details!!

Terry:

You might want to think about using the solenoid from a 12VDC valve as the basis of a future starter solenoid, if you want to get it smaller. The guts of a starter solenoid is usually nothing more than a copper disc attached to an iron core, with a pair of copper contacts connected to the outside world. 12VDC valves can get pretty small - or flippin' huge, depends on how much you want to try shoving through them. Use the coil and the iron core from the valve, then make the contacts, the disc, and the housing.

Don

Big block 1969. Mini starter is the greatest invention ever. Giant header tubes wrapped all around the starter and never a problem. 90 degree days no problem. Driving in a way we shouldn't have been but still no trouble.

Looks like fun, if a bit over-dressed with the paint job. (I prefer a dark colour, subtle, pearlescent or sparkle to look like a million dollars of car!). But have you uprated the transmission, brakes, suspension, body stiffness, tyres, etc. to handle all the torque from that motor? I reckon you will have as you don't do that sort of conversion unless you do a proper job on the whole car. But in the UK, it would (now) need a re-check at a Ministry of Transport test station and insurance changes for change of engine performance, etc. But the paperwork is worth it to people who want it and "do it right".
Maybe you can tell some tales of the Engineering you have done to make this "model"?
I bet it is FUN! - Enjoy it!
K2

Big block 1969. Mini starter is the greatest invention ever. Giant header tubes wrapped all around the starter and never a problem. 90 degree days no problem. Driving in a way we shouldn't have been but still no trouble.View attachment 158086
Bitchin' ... Did you do all this yourself Steve?

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